Microsoft may make a huge concession to users who aren't too fond of the Metro UI. The next Windows 8.1 update will supposedly boot straight to desktop mode and bypass the controversial Metro UI completely.
The OS update is still in development, but a recent report from the Verge indicates that Microsoft is currently testing a version of the update that boots to desktop mode by default. Unnamed sources stated that Microsoft is testing the default desktop boot to optimize the software for users without touchscreens who must depend on a keyboard and mouse to navigate Windows 8.1. Since the majority of PC owners don't have new touchscreen monitors for their desktops or touchscreen laptops yet, Microsoft's decision makes sense.
When Microsoft first launched Windows 8, PC users were in an uproar over the foreign and frightening Metro UI. The widespread discontent with the new Metro UI forced Microsoft to admit that people really wanted their desktop back. The first Windows 8.1 update offered only the smallest concession to angry users by allowing them to set boot to desktop as their default setting. Of course, users still had to change their preferences before getting back to the comfort of the Windows desktop interface.
By and large, the Windows 8.1 update was a disappointment and most users agreed that it did not go far enough. Many argued that Windows 8.1 was simply what Windows 8 should have been when it was released. It seems that Microsoft has taken users' criticism to heart and plans to make amends in the only way it knows how: going backwards.
However, the Windows 8.1 update won't completely get rid of the Metro UI. The version that is currently in testing allows metro apps to run in a separate window while the user is in desktop mode. Users will also be able to access their metro tiles if they want simply by hitting the Windows key. Microsoft continues to grow its metro app selection and improve the Windows Store, but many users aren't that interested.
In order to win over its skeptics, Microsoft will have to make some very serious changes to its fledgling OS before Windows 9 is released. The Windows 8.1 update is expected to arrive sometime in March and will feature other minor improvements to the Metro UI. More information about the progress of Windows 9 will most likely become available during the Build developer conference this May.